“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
We have entered a time of increased power and abilities in our God given gifts. There are more individuals who are “knowing” the future or catching a glimpse of the unseen world. Along with this, is the increase of questioning; “Is this real, is this of God, am I crazy?”
To begin let’s look at what we are really talking about. Someone who defines themselves as religious may also define themselves as being spiritual, while to be sure, someone who is spiritual does not have to be religious. In the United States, those who identify themselves as religious are the least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. Whereas a person operating from the identity of Spiritual, is very open to the idea.
Most major religious faiths in the world scope, do have a belief in the existence of ghosts of some type or definition. The doctrinal teachings may not say the word “ghost,” but spirits that behave like ghosts are well known within the theologies of most other world cultures.
I understand this questioning and yearning to make sense of what is referred to as a paranormal event of prophecy, and seeing spirits and other entities. I have struggled with it since my earliest memories can recall. I have “known” things that come to pass. I have seen what I believe were Angels. One was of light the other darkness. I have seen ghosts. I have been given messages from the dead that I could not have known myself, and many were for complete strangers. But all the messages were not only true but detailed and some were deep hidden family secrets. Who was I really seeing? Who was I getting these prophecies and all this knowledge from? I don’t know, is the true answer. I still do not know. I pray to God and ask mostly not to know or see, but it persists. I ask only to interact with God or his good Angels or messengers. But can I tell you who, no. So when I say I understand it can be a confusing and frightening to experience and that is compounded by not feeling able to share for fear of judgement, I am telling you my truth.
So why all the judgement? Well as a society we are taught if not by our families, certainly in the earlier decades in school that there is good and evil and things are black and white and there is no in between. If you experience knowing something that comes to pass, you must be some sort of witch. If you see a ghost, it must be a demon because
So even those seeking answers in the Bible are confused by the different versions and terminology. They are referred to as spirits, fantasmas, ghosts, familiar spirits, which are not one in the same. For example, let’s examine Luke 24:37-39.
In Luke 24:37, 39 King James Version, the Lord appears to his disciples after his resurrection. It’s recorded that they were terrified and supposed that they had seen a spirit. Jesus said “Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.” The New International Version and Holman say: “thinking they saw a ghost, and Jesus then says “a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” In other bible versions the vary in the usage of ghost or spirit.
Another passage concerning ghosts, is when Christ was walking on the water. His disciples thought he was a ghost stated in Matthew 14:26. Suggesting even Christ’s disciple’s experiences and teachings allowed for ghosts. Christ never corrected this in any following passages. In Matthew 14:26 it says: When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. Commentary from Adam Clarke states, it is a spirit – That the spirits of the dead might and did appear, was a doctrine held by the greatest and holiest of men that ever existed; and a doctrine which the cavaliers, free-thinkers and bound-thinkers, of different ages, have never been able to disprove. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible that, they were troubled – They were afraid. The sight was remarkable. It was sufficient to awe them. In the dark night, amid the tumultuous billows appeared the form of a man. They thought it was a spirit an apparition. It was a common belief among the ancients that the spirits of people after death frequently appeared to the living.
Now that being said, the term familiar spirit is completely different in perceived origin. The word familiar is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a “household servant,” and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them.
Every instance of prophecy and visions of the dead or other entities must be answered by discernment. First Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us of our responsibility to be discerning: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world”, and in 1 John 4:1 from the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer-it is required.
I have known very credible Christian people that have experienced what is referred to as paranormal encounters with spirits in person, on film and through hearing voices or receiving messages. Each has made their own conclusion about the experience. Some believe the message was directly from God to them. Some believe the spirit they saw was not a demon or lost soul, but actually their beloved family member or loved one. Others think a spirit captured on film was a glimpse into a parallel universe just a thin veil between us. I believe for my part that is has been a mixture of divine interaction with messengers of God. Other experienced I firmly believe were low level energies or possibly demons. Interestingly enough, I have never seen the spirit of any of my family members that have crossed over. None. Several ghosts that I have seen appeared to be going about their business without even knowing I was there. The Angels I encountered, I believe came from different sources due to the fact that one passing was natural and happened the morning of the appearance, the other was foretold a murder that came to pass three days later.
It is a vast subject and we only lightly touched on several possibilities here. I wish you peace and I hope this has helped you make sense of what you have possibly encountered.
Blessings, Teal L. Gray